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Canadian guest blogger and name book writer Shandley McMurray offers some advice on global baby names–picking a name that will travel well. (And those are her beautiful kids in the illustration.)

Growing up with a name like Shandley in Canada wasn’t always easy. I became tired of correcting people’s spelling and pronunciation of it, and, of course, I bemoaned the lack of personalized products like pens and rulers that adorned the desks of my more traditionally-named friends. Then, the world’s increasing reliance on email made things even more difficult, with online editors and others I hadn’t met in person often referring to me as Mr. rather than Ms. in their correspondence.

Now don’t get me wrong—I’ve always loved my name. I’m a loud and opinionated free spirit and a quieter name like Elizabeth or Ashley just wouldn’t have fit. My name set me apart and I took pride in the fact that my parents had invented such a unique name.  So when it came time to name my own children, I thought long and hard about my decision.

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abbytulipe

For the Nameberry 9 this week, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel walks us  through the flower-name garden and shares some celebrity news.

Earlier this week, Nameberry explored the unexpected middle names of some very famous figures.  Who knew that Hugh Grant wore the middle name Mungo, or that Charlie Sheen had Irwin in the middle spot?

Here in Washington DC, I’m convinced that while we’re quite daring with our children’s given names, every single girl is sharing the same middle: Rose.  I’d rather see Rose in the first spot, like Charlotte’s younger daughter in the Sex in the City series.  But Rose came in at a frosty #337 in the 2010 rankings.  You’re more likely to meet a girl called Esmeralda, Fatima, or Leilani.

What explains the rise of a suddenly-everywhere middle name?  Yes, many of us have grandmothers named Rose.  But we also have grandmothers named Jean, Joan, and Ruth, and those names aren’t nearly as popular.  At a recent baby shower, the guest-of-honor had chosen Rose for a daughter’s middle name.  So had the other expectant mom in the room, and one of the brand new parents had already named her daughter Amelie Rose.

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baby name rules

Today’s guest blogger, writer Jon Finkel, has come up with his own idiosyncratic set of baby-naming rules—see if you agree.

With the average life expectancy in the United States pushing 80 years, picking the wrong name for your kid could turn out to be an eight-decade mistake. Think about that. In eighty years you’ll be dead; the house you lived in, the cars you drove, the clothes you wore, will probably all be recycled, rebuilt or destroyed; but your son, who is now living in an old-age facility in 2091, has to go by the name Mason S., because Mason A., Mason G., Mason L. and Mason P. live on the same floor in his retirement home, were all born in 2011 and also had parents who went the unoriginal route and simply picked the trendiest name available.

So though Mason is a solid name, when it comes to your child in 2011, unless you have always loved Mason, or you are named Mason (or work as a mason) and your son is going to be a Mason Junior or a mason, the name is just too popular. This thought led me to compose what I’ll call “The Not Another Mason and Other Rules for Baby Naming” list.

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Unusual Names: This week’s Nameberry 9

corali

This week, for her Nameberry 9 newsiest names blog, Abby (Appellation Mountain) Sandel comes up with some real surprises.

Never mind the number nine.  Last week’s news was abuzz with reports that baby number seven billion had joined the world on Monday.  The exact calculation is imprecise, so a number of newborns were dubbed Baby Seven Bil.  (Presumably some bear the name William, but I’ve yet to hear of one called Seven.)

So here’s the question: in a world of seven billion and counting, is any name really strange?  A few weeks ago, a back-to-school ad showed lunchboxes and assorted school supplies bearing names like Ethan and Emma and Grace, but also Gigi and Miko and CairoEven the most ordinary classroom is home to some pretty extraordinarily unusual names.

This week’s list is a nod to the tremendous diversity out there in Namelandia.  It gives us pause – how do you pronounce Saiorse?  Is Ellington a boy or a girl?  But it also creates space to use nearly any name under the sun.

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alteregogrl

In her previous blog, Appelation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel revealed the alter ego names of the male superheroes, and this week it’s the girls’ turn.

Last week we looked at comic book names inspired by Clark Kent and Peter Parker – the mild-mannered alter egos of Superman and Spider-Man

More women have donned a cape to fight for good than you might guess, but it hasn’t been an easy road.  The Comics Code Authority, a set of industry standards adopted in 1954, limited gore and violence, but also sexual innuendo.  Selina Kyle hung up her catsuit for more than a decade when the Code was at its strictest.

Female characters tend to go to extremes.  There’s the wholesome Betty and later Barbara, characters introduced as Batgirl at a time when it was thought Batman and Robin needed girlfriends.  Others are clearly not from this world, like Thundra, a Femizon warrior from the 23rd century, arrived in 1972 to challenge The Thing, or the first female superhero, Egyptian princess Fantomah.

As comic books have become popular sources for Hollywood films, plenty of A-list stars have worn these identities.  For parents seeking a feminine name with an edge, knowing that your daughter’s appellation has been worn by a crime-fighting woman of steel might make an otherwise frilly name seem downright powerful.  Here some possible female alter ego comic book names:

Ariella

Amara

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